In 2007, Chris Somerville became the Director of the Energy Biosciences Institute at the University of California, Berkeley where he is also a professor in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology and a visiting professor at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Prior to joining EBI, Somerville was Director of the Carnegie Institution, Department of Plant Biology, at Stanford University.
Somerville’s current research is focused on the characterization of proteins, such as cellulose synthase, implicated in plant cell wall synthesis and modification. He has published many scientific papers and patents in plant and microbial genetics, genomics, biochemistry, and biotechnology.
Somerville has served as a member of the scientific advisory boards of numerous academic institutions, corporations, and private foundations in Europe and North America. He is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, The Royal Society of London and the Royal Society of Canada and has received numerous scientific awards.